Afterthoughts

The simplicity of life in hindsight

A First Class Decision!

It’s not often that I take the liberty of traveling of my own accord in first class comfort, but then again it’s not very often that I can get the opportunity to upgrade for just 14£. This one time I decided to go up to first class and truly indulge myself. The trip that I’m alluding to is the 3 hour train journey that starts from London and ends at Manchester.

This was no ordinary London-Manchester train journey; this was one that was flanked on either side by games involving Manchester clubs going through very different emotions. The emotions were resplendent in the fans that were occupying the train, right from the pretty waitress to the gentleman who was sitting right across me. The former nodded in approval at my United jersey while the latter scoffed in friendly dismay at it. The train was filled with City fans, ones who were less than pleased at the previous evenings results, and with United fans who were edgy and nervous knowing fully well that this would be the last time that they would travel to Manchester to watch a United team managed by the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson.

Amidst all of the emotion and drama that would cloud the train journey, I made a friend. He came in and sat down across me, with the flags and poles from the previous evening’s game. It didn’t take too long to figure out where his allegiance was in the world of football. He was a Manchester City fan. The enemy.

As it turned out, he was quite a delightful gentleman. We discussed everything from work to football. The tinge of candour in his voice was quite endearing. He was a businessman, and we discussed his business at length, he opened his heart about how he started and failed many times and how he kept going till he succeeded. I was so fascinated and inspired by him. I opened my heart a little to him as well; I told him all about how I was scared to go into business, how I feared losing out (or losing everything), I told him that I was brought up in a family where academics was paramount, not business. I told him that we didn’t have business blood in my family. I even told him that I’m probably not good enough to start my own business at this point of time. I had so many fears. He listened to me patiently, and uttered these words that would later go on have a profound impact on me – “Jo dar gaya, woh mar gaya!”. The translation reads – those who fear are dead before they even start living.

We then discussed Sir Alex Ferguson; he pointed out so much about the man that he admired and revered. Sir Alex was ruthless, he didn’t care for reputation or legends. He had one simple rule, either you’re good or you’re out. He was a passionate person, he absolutely loved what he did. He drove this energy though to his players and made them believe and play. He had the ability to transform even the meekest of individuals to hungry voracious lions. He went on to say the next line that had a profound impact on me – “Jeethne ke liye, tatte ka zaroorath hai”. The translation reads, if you want to win, you need to grow a pair of balls.

There are many things that I want to do in life and much of those things have been shelved just because I’m scared to take the risk. I need listen to those two lines over and over again until I realise that somewhere embedded in those lines is the key to the guy who’s brave and fearless. I need to find that key and find that guy, before it’s too late.

I never thought an ardent Manchester City fan would ever have a profound impact on me, but that was before I took a chance and went on first class for the first time. Thank you Sir. You’ve given me much to think about, and you’ve changed my life for the better.

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